Earlier this year I returned from Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego after participating in a twenty-day expedition to Antarctica. The Homeward Bound Project has gathered the first 76 of a targeted 1,000 women from around the world, all with critical science backgrounds, to undertake a year-long state-of-the-art program to develop their leadership and strategic capabilities, using science to build conviction around the importance of their voices.
This article for Content and Technology magazine looks at the range of camera technology used on this assignment.
October 2017: It was a brilliant night in Helsinki. I had the pleasure of presenting the award for Best Cinematography Documentary Films to Polish cinematographer, Lukasz Zal for his work on "Ikon" This is a feature-length documentary portrait of a provincial psychiatric hospital population. For the first time in the history of one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Siberia a film crew could see the daily life behind high walls.
Our other winners on the night were Fabian Wagner BSC ASC for TV Drama, "Game of Thrones – The Winds of Winter" and Seamus McGarvey BSC for the Feature Film "Nocturnal Animals".
Congratulations to the winners and to all the nominees. There was some extraordinary cinematography up on the screen.
September & October 2017: I have been presenting lectures to guests on the US based Silversea cruise ship, the Silver Shadow. The talks centred on my photography and cinematography. This three week assignment included Tokyo, Hiroshima, Shimizu and Ishikagi (Japan) Seoul and Busan (South Korea) Beijing, Tianjing and Shanghai (China).
I've been selected to exhibit two of my images to represent the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) at an international photography exhibition in Poland. To help celebrate the 25th anniversaries of the Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography and IMAGO — the Federation of European Cinematographers — a selection of images taken by members will be showcased during the upcoming festival, held November 11-18 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Creating images is the art and profession of cinematographers and many cinematographers are also creators of still images.
This exhibition will showcase how cinematographers from all around the world work with visual artistry in artistic composition, visual motifs, contrast, colour or black-and-white when it comes to still images. https://theasc.com/news/asc-imago-joint-photo-exhibition-to-be-must-see-at-camerimage
22nd April 2017: Bilgola Beach 610am. I used a Sony RX100 Mk4 for this shot.
March & April 2017: Snow blizzards recently blanketed the north east of the United States. I was there to capture and document the beautly of New Jersey in the snowy aftermath. A comination of stills photograpy and video in the countrside and on the streets of New York.
18th February 2017: The Bilgola Beach rock shelf at low tide. I used a Sony A7R Mk2.
I have returned from Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego after participating in a twenty-day expedition to Antarctica. Homeward Bound
has gathered the first 76 of a targeted 1,000 women from around the world, all with critical science backgrounds, to undertake a year-long state-of-the-art program to develop their leadership and strategic capabilities, using science to build conviction around the importance of their voices.
The inaugural program culminated in the largest-ever female expedition to Antarctica with a focus on the leadership of women and the state of the world.
A ninety minute feature length documentary is being produced by Glacial Productions and it's the reason we were onboard. Our crew: sound recordist Gary Lacroix, second camera and drone operater Dale Cochrane
, gimbal camera operator Kess Broekman-Dattner and director IIi Baré
. Filming for Homeward Bound (working title) will continue in 2017.
October/November 2016: The face of a new generation in Myanmar is this young market girl. Such generous and welcoming people make up this still desperately poor nation. It is a wonderful place to roam with a camera.
1st October 2016: My Still to Motion workshop for Focus photographers has wrapped and it was a great day. Thanks to all those who came along, glad to know you had a great time as well as leaving with new skills. It's also a great way for me to meet new people.
Focus is a community for those who share a passion for landscape and seascape photography. Visit the Focus website
Birds and seals South Georgia - Gold Bay King Penguins, Baily's Head Chinstrap Penguins and Antarctic peninsular landscapes
November/December I travelled to the island of South Georgia and Antarctica on the Polar Pioneer for Aurora Expeditions, my role was as a guest cinematography lecturer. I shot video footage along the way. For this expedition, I chose to forgo my Sony PXW-FS7, taking only Sony stills cameras.
Here are are two short videos, shot in 4K, recorded on the Ninja Assassin and uploaded as HD. My camera/lens kit consisted of a Sony A7R Mk2, Sony A7R (stills only), Sony 70-200mm f/4 G zoom, Zeiss Loxia 55mm f/2, Sony/Zeiss 16-35mm f/4, Canon 400mm f/5.6, Sony RX100 Mk4, GoPro 4, Atomos Ninja Assassin, Miller Air tripod/fluid head, Zoom H4n recorder. I used standard gamma settings and the audio was recorded mainly by the A7R's stereo microphone. I used no additional camera accessories. If weight was again a factor, I'd gladly pack the same kit for the next assignment. I was interviewd before leaving on the expedition.
I was recently interviewed by Sarah Kanowski in Brisbane. It was a priviledge to have been asked to be a guest on ABC radio's Conversations. It's one of ABC's most popular regular radio segments with an list of amazing guests who have contributed before me.
Sarah was filling in for regular host Richard Fidler and she made me feel right at home. We talked about work, my assigments, my childhood and as expected, much was left out, so many important collegues momentarily forgotten. I enjoyed my hour long talk - nothing like a hour of live radio to brush away the cobwebs.
A podcast of my interview is available on the ABC Conversations website.
The final day of video training for SBS Television cadet video journalists. Phil Ly plays the the news presenter with a passion for nicking colleague's headphones. A full day shooting news spoofs that will sum up the new skills learnt during the week. Vanessa Jane on the right, Creative Strategist, film-maker and producer and entrepreneur.
I will be joining the SF3 judging panel again this year. Smartfone Flick Fest is Australia’s only international smartphone film festival for filmmakers of all ages and it is now open for entries!
As long as your film is shot entirely on a smartphone or tablet and it is within the six and a half minute time limit your film is eligible for submission. Everyone has a great idea for a short film and a potential movie camera in their pockets so no excuses.
Enter by August 1, 2016 at www.sf3.com.au while there is still time, start planning your entry now.
Smartfone Flick Fest on facebook
A selection of photographs taken during my dawn walks at Sydney's Bilgola and Newport beaches over the past year.
From all corners of the country, Seven West Media (Network Seven) cadets skill up on lighting and shooting techniques at my video camera course held at the Australian Cinematographers Society National HQ, North Sydney last weekend.
Video journalism requires some basic knowledge of film language to successfully translate a good story into an engaging video story, however the concentration needed to operate the camera can draw attention away from the story at hand. My aim is to show each participant how to get to the point where the story always comes first.
The January Drop-In night at the Sydney HQ of the Australian Cinematographers Society was a standing room only event and featured two video camera related presentations. Firstly, Anthony Kable of Sony Australia filled in the latest developments within Sony's large frame sensor product range and with many recent model releases by Sony, it was a great opportunity for everyone to get up to speed.
I followed with a talk centering my recent assignment as a cinematography mentor on board Aurora Expedition's Polar Pioneer. In particular, the use of Sony A7R Mk2 mirrorless cameras paired with the Atomos Assassin 4K recorder to cover my 4K cinematography and stills photography during the springtime expedition to South Georgia Island and Antarctica.
This most recent overseas assignment took me to Taiwan, Japan and China. Lecturing on the craft of cinematography on board the Silver Shadow, a luxury ship operated by the Italian cruise ship company Silversea, based out of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The talks for guests centre on my work as a cinematographer, particularly in the field of documentary. From time to time I shoot short sequences at various locations and screen them at my lectures.
A clear day in China is rare. This short video shows a stunning sunrise unfolding during our slow sail up the Huangpu River to arrive near the centre of the city of Shanghai. Packing a Sony A7R Mk2, I chose a Sony PXW-X70 recording in 4K DCI to shoot this piece and edited it with FCPX.
Anne Barker is doing video journalist training with me in North Sydney. She is a reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and a former ABC foreign correspondent covering events in the Middle East and Asia.
Anne spent from April 2009 to July 2012 in Jerusalem reporting on the Middle East region. She is an experienced reporter by any measure. As a part of this camera training, I have devised a number of practice assignments, shooting with a Sony PXW-X70 video camera. It's been a great week - her video photography is coming together nicely.
We have some additional sessions planned for early 2016
Journalist Tim Lester has recently finished a solid block of video camera training with me here in Sydney. Since 2014 Tim has been with the Seven Network's political team in Canberra covering federal politics from Parliament House.
Tim is the former political bureau chief & online political editor for Fairfax. He is also a former foreign correspondent for the ABC and has covered events while living in Sydney, Melbourne, Washington, Bangkok, Hobart and Launceston.
As one of Australia's most experienced journalists with a career spanning three decades, Tim has worked with some of Australia's best news camera operators - he also has a great eye.
Home again, this time from Punta Arenas in the south of Chile and I'm feeling that warm Sydney summer sunlight. I have completed a three week journey to South Georgia and the Antarctic peninsular on board the Aurora Expeditions ship, Polar Pioneer. South Georgia is a British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands. It is 165 kilometres (103 mi) long and 1 to 35 km (1 to 22 miles) wide and is by far the largest island in the territory. It was my first visit there and was an incredible experience.
I joined the expedition as a cinematography lecturer and mentor along with renowned Australian photographer Peter Eastway. My 4K video was recorded with Sony cameras fitted with Sony, Zeiss and Canon lenses. Sony A7R Mk2, Sony A7R & Sony RX100 Mk4 cameras and Sony 70-200mm, Zeiss 16-35mm, Zeiss 55mm f1.8 & Canon 400mm lenses. Some of the images below have been extracted from the 4K video footage.
My One-on-One camera training continues into 2016
I will be in Sydney for the next few months and happy to take bookings for One-on-One training sessions in January, February and March. My next shooting and training assignments take me to Thailand and Vietnam in March 2016. Email for further information on One-on-One and Small-Group training.
Sailing in the waters around South Georgia Island and Antarctica, the unexpected will happen. It's the nature of an expedition cruise. My recent excursion to Cape Horn was a great example. As its sole resident, the Chilean naval officer and lighthouse keeper stationed on this wild windy place doesn't get too many casual visitors. This is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile and it's a treacherous, dangerous place.
Few ships call by for that reason. Aurora Expeditions ship the Polar Pioneer was in the right place at the right time - we were able to go ashore by zodiac in the relative calm of late afternoon to make that long climb to the top of the island. Conversing in my travel Spanish, I had a nice chat with the navy officer who allowed me to take his photo beside one of the few structures on this remotest of places.
These SBS cadet journalists have for the past days been attending my Sydney Video Journalism training course. While they may not have the wish to ever shoot feature films or documentaries, they do leave with the video and audio skills to enable them to shoot a news story when and if required. But who knows where video camera skills can take them? Nice to meet you (L to R) Rachael Hocking, Lydia Feng, Abbie O'Brien & Will Mumford.
We wrapped up the training quite late yesterday in Sydney’s uncomfortable afternoon heat. This morning I’m flying to Santiago Chile, to start my next training stint - an 18 day photographic expedition to South Georgia and Antarctica.